A recipe for living with cancer.

Archive for September, 2012

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Tomato Tomaaaato

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25 lbs of tomatoes later Miriam, Oz and I sliced diced, roasted and canned for a full day. Oz took to slicing tomatoes like nobody’s business. We demonstrated once, discussed safety, DON’T put your finger HERE, and he spent the better part of one hour slicing. Then as he does with everything else..I do it myself.

The expression on his face brought me more joy than I have felt in recent months. It’s even better than the photo. You could see the shear excitement, accomplishment and absolute confidence radiating on his whole little face. I saw his future at that moment fulfilling my dream of becoming a world class chef, he would carry on for me.

Two Eggs Over Easy, On Toast

Sometimes it just the simple things. I’ve been having difficulty eating lately, And no as absurd as this whole journey is I’ve not lost a ton of weight, two pounds maybe. The totally surrealistic part is that each time I go in for an infusion I get weighed and I weigh exactly the same as the day I was first diagnosed in May, no lie. I get on this scale with a digital readout, no wiggle room there, and think…oh I must have lost 5 maybe 6 pounds and I look at the number and it is exactly the same. For someone who was and will always be obsessed with weight I am pissed, annoyed and want to eat a hot fudge sundae with coffee ice cream right then and there, which of course would taste like crap!! What a rip off right? Go through all of this awful stuff, food tastes like paste and all I’ve got to show for it is a bald head! I know it’s killing the cancer!

Back to something simple. My newest addition to my ever-growing list of reactions to chemo is indigestion and heartburn. I’ve had some intermittently but the last few days it has been constant.

This morning I was hungry but for the life of me could not figure out what to eat which might not give me heartburn, yoghurt, cereal, leftover pasta and sauce (ahhh, no not that), oatmeal, then it hit me like a lightning bold, two eggs over easy with toast. Something I have not had in years doing this veganish diet (a vegan who eats fish, I don’t like pescatarian, sounds like someone getting a little to pesky) and something that seemed very comforting indeed.

I had plain white bread in the freezer and put two slices in the toaster. I put smart balance in my pan and brought it to a gentle sizzle and gentle dropped two orange yolked little balls into the pan. I am a stickler with eggs, low and slow~~ I don’t like burnt rubbery whites, or hard as a rock yolks. Just when the whites turn from cloudy to pure white I gently swirl the pan to make sure there is no sticking and with a quick, throw, pull and lift- flip them over for another 30 seconds or so. Perfect, oops, one yolk broke I am a bit out of practice. Gently slip on to buttered toast, sprinkle with a bit of pink Himalayan sea salt, fold in half and voila.
The yolk breaks, yellow gold oozing out the side and I am satiated. It was comforting I could actually taste a bit and I was totally satisfied. It’s the simple things, two eggs over easy on toast.

Marking Time-Today I wasn’t a Slug

Marking time has taken many forms throughout my life. When I was young and in school I marked time by holidays. So many days till the Jewish holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, Halloween, thanksgiving etc. Week by week it was waiting for Friday for the weekend, then all to soon Sunday night and school the next day. Sunday school was another thing which made me mark time. I hated Sunday school and tried every time to avoid going. Mom and Dad would sleep late on Sundays….and I would never make noise hoping they would sleep past the time I would need to be on my way. They always managed to wake up with just enough time to get me there. The only day I had a shot was day light savings in the spring. They almost always forgot to switch the clocks upstairs and so even if they slept to normal time, cha-ching it would be an hour later and MISSED it!

Pregnancy had different Benchmarks, first trimester, second etc. when I would stop throwing up, when I would need to wear maternity clothes etc. Then school benchmarks and holiday benchmarks again when the kids were growing up. In high school add in benchmarks of athletics, musicals, anything else the kids were involved in…college entrance exams, applications. I haven’t even talked about work. But of course I want to talk about marking time on chemo.

Marking time on chemo is all about well chemo, next treatment, get the treatment, shot for bone marrow stimulus, drink ridiculous amounts of liquid, flush twice, nausea vomiting medication, fatigue days, low white count days, bone pain days, starting to feel better days, more hair loss, black nail beds, and five days of feeling great anxiety building until next treatment. I know in there somewhere there are holidays and birthdays and lots of other stuff but it is on the periphery and not on my radar.

Then time stopped a dear friend and an acquaintance died. As I struggle through this process only allowing myself to believe I will be one of the survivors, I am pulled up short and reminded there are no guarantees and marking time is really wasting time. I thought Tom’s accident had trained me to live every day to its fullest and be happy and accomplish as much as possible. But I have slipped back into the habit of marking time, thinking of the future, where I will be, how much longer do I suffer through this or that, I will be finished by Thanksgiving…

Thanksgiving? What about today? I have been trying to do more and to stop marking time. We are having company Saturday night, everyone will cook and clean up, I may be exhausted Sunday but it’s ok. Today I made round bread for Zelda’s lunches, I made a custard for a decadent caramel chocolate ice cream and I made Tom cupcakes. I couldn’t make dinner but Tom made pasta and sauce and it was fabulous. And I can say, today I wasn’t a slug.

Chocolate Ice Cream Chocolate Ice Cream

I added 1 tsp of vanilla to this recipe and 1/2 cup chocolate slivers.

The bread recipe is a quick recipe, if you are familiar with bread baking you can actually make start to finish in one hour.
Quick White Bread
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Grease 2 1lb. Loaf pans

5-6 cups all purpose or bread flour ( you may add up to 1/2 whole wheat flour)
3 packets or 3 T dried yeast
2T sugar
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups warm water
3 T butter or smart balance or oil (melt butter or margarine)

You may make this in a bowl by hand or in a mixer with a dough hook. I use my kitchen aid.
Place 3 cups of flour in bowl, add yeast, sugar, salt. Heat water to temp of a baby bottler, in this recipe, adding liquid to dry ingredients to about 120 degrees. Here is basic temp info for yeast…

130° F–140° F (55° C–60° C)
Yeast cells die (thermal death point).

120° F–130° F (49° C–55° C)
Water temperature for activating yeast designed to be mixed with the dry ingredients in a recipe.

105° F–115° F (41° C–46° C)
Temperature of water for dry yeast reconstituted with water and sugar.

Mix water and fat into dry ingredients (you can use paddle to get it to mix quicker, I just use dough hook) and blend. As mixing add flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough forms ball on hook and cleans side of bowl. As mixing if dough starts to stick to sides sprinkle with more flour. In the old days I would take the dough out of the bowl and knead by hand. Now I let it knead in the mixer 10 minutes until satiny smooth.
Grease bowl place dough in bowl, turn to cover with fat and let rise until double.
The speedy part if you like is to place bowl into another bowl of hot water. It will double in 20 minutes!

Shape into 2 loaves, let rise until double. Bake approximately 20-25 minutes until brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Turn out of pan and cool.
These loaves freeze well.
If you have any questions about making bread please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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